I was first introduced to the concept of an accountability partner when I started my health coach training program in 2017. I have since had a number of accountability partners and I think it is something we may all benefit from in some form or another.
An accountability partner is someone whom you form an intentional relationship with for a distinct purpose. It could be a friend or a stranger. Someone you have a much deeper relationship with outside of your accountability relationship, or not. But the foundation is that, at least as part of your relationship, you dedicate time to spend with one another where each has an opportunity to share their goals, or ask for feedback, or to bounce things off of the other one, and then you hold eachother accountable in some area of eachother’s lives. You could also have a small group. And you don’t have to meet in person.
I currently speak with someone from my health coaching class about once a month. We share where we are with our business goals, and have provided eachother with meaningful reflection. I love to have someone listen to and provide feedback on my ideas. I can ask questions about issues with a client or a business matter, and get ideas from her and vice versa. For example, recently she was struggling to find time for another course she is working on because things like laundry and other housekeeping always seemed to get in the way. I reminded her of the big rocks principle and she started to block out time for her studying first, and fit the other stuff around the edges.
Accountability partners can also be used to help review another’s work. I am going to start carving out time to focus on a book I have been wanting to write. I am taking a course that will help, but I will also be looking for an accountability partner with my intention being to get ideas from this person as well as editing. Asking someone this favor on its own would be a huge ask, but if I find a writing partner – someone also working on a similar project – we can both benefit by sharing our time and opinions with eachother.
Tips to create a strong relationship:
- Before asking someone to be an accountability partner, decide how often you want to meet and what the purpose of the relationship will be. Try to find someone working on something similar – that could be eating better, preparing food at home, starting a side business, learning spanish, etc.
- Talk openly in the beginning and as you go along about how each of you can best be pushed forward. Some people need hard love, specific goals, nudging along the way. Some need outer accountability in order to complete their goals, while others provide plenty of inner accountability and they may actually need more encouragement more than pushing. Some people will benefit most from just having someone to listen, reflect, and ask questions as they talk through what they are working on.
- Meet when you say you will. If your partner keeps rescheduling or not showing up – drop the relationship. Tell them that you want to take it seriously and look for someone else.
- Set a specific period of time for each meeting and either split in half or focus on just one of you for each meeting. This guideline is malleable when appropriate, but a good expectation to start from.
A coach can also serve as an accountability partner
If you are looking for something more or haven’t had success with an accountability partner, a health, life, or business coach may be a great solution. We provide long periods of time dedicated solely to your goals. We listen, reflect, and offer guidance and tools to figure out your own direction. We provide that outer accountability when you need it, and reassurance when that’s what you need most. The investment in time and money can pay back many times over if you are at a point where you want to level up a specific area of your life. Most successful people either have mutual accountability partners or a coach in their lives.